Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are taking sweeping measures to halt the advance of Covid-19, imposing limits on public gatherings and the like. But for the region's most vulnerable, social distancing is not realistic. In this podcast, IMF African Department head Abebe Aemro Selassie, says anything that will help contain the spread of the virus, like closing borders to people, will help minimize added strain on already fragile health systems. Selassie says what began as a health crisis is now a major global economic crisis, and he fears African countries will be swept up in that.
Read Selassie's blog and others on the response to the coronavirus at Blogs.IMF.org
The coronavirus pandemic is having a profound impact on lives and economies around the world. In this podcast, we hear IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva's statement following her call with G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, where they discussed the extraordinary circumstances of the health crisis and the extraordinary measures it will take to mitigate its economic impact.
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The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on just about every aspect of life around the world. The limited human contact required to contain the spread of the virus is hindering economic activity and in turn, putting enormous pressure on the global economy. Martin Mühleisen heads the IMF's Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, which looks at IMF policies and advises management on strategic issues. In this podcast, Mühleisen says even if an individual country is fortunate enough to escape widespread viral contagion of the coronavirus, it's likely it will still feel the economic fallout.
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It took more than 50,000 years for the world population to reach 1 billion people, but since 1960, we have added successive billions every one to two decades. The United Nations projects there will be 9 billion people on the planet by 2037. Demography is the study of life, death and everything we do in between. And throughout human history, we've seen plenty of population booms and busts. In this podcast, Harvard economist and demographer David Bloom, says public policy both shapes and responds to demographic trends. David Bloom's article, Population 2020, is published in the March issue of Finance & Development magazine.
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While the immigration debate tends to focus on culture, identity and potential economic benefits, Giovanni Peri says demographics are the Achilles' heel of the global North. Peri is Director of the Global Migration Center at the University of California, Davis, and in this podcast, he says immigration policies that allow larger numbers of immigrants will help stabilize population growth in the aging advanced economies of the North. Peri's article Immigrant Swan Song is published in the March 2020 issue of Finance and Development magazine.
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Mitigating the effects of climate change takes a multifaceted approach with economic policy playing a pivotal role. In this podcast, we hear from two influential people at the very center of where economic and environmental policies meet. IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva and Lord Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics, discuss the significance of the Special Report on Climate Change published in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and how financial institutions can help countries live up to their Paris accord pledges to reduce carbon emissions. Nicholas Stern is Chairman of LSE's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and author of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change published in 2006.
Bonds have been helping corporations and governments finance infrastructure and large-scale projects for hundreds of years. But the last decade has seen the emergence of green bonds, driven by increasing environmental awareness within the business community. In this podcast, founder and CEO of Rock Creek, Afsaneh Beschloss, says global asset management firms like hers are seeing a growing demand for climate-related investments. In the first half of 2019 alone, new certified green bond issues topped $100 billion globally. Prior to Rock Creek, Beschloss was treasurer and chief investment officer of the World Bank. Her article A Greener Future for Finance, co-authored with Mina Mashayekhi, is published in the December 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
South Africa is an important economy in sub-Saharan Africa and when growth is high the entire region benefits. But the latest review of South Africa's economy shows real GDP growth is estimated at about 0.4 percent in 2019 and projected to moderately rise to 1½ percent in the medium term: a level insufficient to raise per-capita income and reduce unemployment. In this podcast, economist Ana Lucia Coronel says South Africa's growth slowdown in recent years stems in part from slow reform implementation to tackle structural impediments to growth. Coronel heads the South Africa team and oversees the writing of the IMF's annual assessment of South Africa's economy.
Inefficiencies in South Africa's state-owned enterprises have triggered costly government bailouts of electricity provider Eskom and others. (iStock by Getty Images/brazzo)
Inequality and climate change are two of the most pressing issues of our time, with repercussions likely to last long into the future. In this podcast, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath sits down with two young leaders to talk about how best to tackle these issues. Lyndsay Walsh (Trinity College, Dublin) and Tarik Gooptu (University of Oxford) are both students and both of a generation that is highly motivated to bridge income gaps and stop global warming. Walsh and Gooptu are the winners of an essay competition launched by Finance and Development Magazine. Their essays are published in the December 2019 issue.
Without major efforts to reduce the accumulation of carbon emissions in the atmosphere, future generations will inherit a much warmer planet with risks of dangerous climate events, higher sea levels, and destruction of the natural world. In this podcast, economist Ian Parry makes the case for carbon taxation as the most effective way to nudge people towards cleaner fuels and to encourage them to adopt more efficient appliances or lower emission vehicles. But while convincing people to buy electric cars and more efficient appliances is important, the largest CO2 emitting countries need to work together to make a real dent in global greenhouse gas emissions. That, Parry says, is proving to be difficult. Parry's latest article Putting a Price on Pollution is published in the December 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Over two-thirds of global financial institutions have seen an increase in cyberattacks in recent years. In the UK alone, the number of security breaches has increased by over 480%. Cybersecurity is no longer just about firewalls, data encryption, and strong passwords. While those are still necessary, they are not enough to fight a threat that knows no borders. One recent law enforcement operation that started in Spain busted a cyber gang operating in 15 countries and required coordinated efforts with the FBI, Europol and other private companies. In this podcast, three leading specialists in cybersecurity discuss how to create a safer digital world for financial institutions. Carnegie Endowment's Tim Maurer, IMF's Chris Wilson, and Central Bank of Spain's Silvia Senabre participated in a recent workshop on cybersecurity hosted by the IMF.
Tim Maurer is co-director of the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power.
Silvia Senabre is a mathematician and computer engineer who works on cybersecurity risk evaluation for the Central Bank of Spain.
Chris Wilson is a Senior Financial Sector Expert in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department and co-author of Cybersecurity Risk Supervision.
Populist leaders and movements are on the rise across the world, but why now? Populism has been around since Ancient Rome. In this podcast, economist Guido Tabellini says the 2008 global financial crisis and technology are driving the recent resurgence. Tabellini says with growing inequality people disappointed by the policies of the past that have excluded them from the benefits of the global economy are voting more along cultural identity lines. It’s the nationalists versus the cosmopolitans. Guido Tabellini is Professor of Political Economics at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, and delivered the IMF’s Annual Richard Goode Lecture on his research.
While efforts to mitigate climate change have focused primarily on burning fewer fossil fuels, recent research by the UN’s Panel on Climate Change shows that what we eat and how we produce it can have an even greater impact on the global environment and public health. The report says reforms in crop and livestock activities could potentially mitigate up to a third of all greenhouse-gas emissions. IMF economist, Nicoletta Batini studies the environmental impact of the agri-food sector. Her latest article titled Reaping What We Sow is published in the December 2019 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
Photo: Consuming fewer animal products can help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. (Istock by Getty Images/ FrankvandenBergh)
Sub-Saharan Africa has made significant inroads in reducing poverty and increasing access to education and health services, but the infrastructure deficit still looms large throughout the region. For many countries, the ability to finance their development needs has become more constrained as public debt has increased rapidly in recent years. In this podcast, Abebe Aemro Selassie says when governments invest in the right types of infrastructure, people are more willing to pay the taxes the government needs to service its debt. Selassie is Director of the IMF's African Department, which has helped organize a special conference in Dakar, Senegal, this week to discuss how countries can continue to address the infrastructure gap while maintaining manageable debt levels.
Following the great economic crises of the 20th century, there were periods of intellectual and political upheaval that ultimately changed economic policy. Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England, argues the 2008 financial crisis should have prompted the same reaction but didn’t. King delivered this year's Per Jacobsson Lecture during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings and warned the failure to dramatically change our approach to economic policy risks another financial crisis.
Lord Mervyn King is Professor of Economics at New York University and the London School of Economics. He is also author of The End of Alchemy and has a forthcoming book entitled Radical Uncertainty.
Investing in social programs can soften the blow of inequalities and foster more stable societies. In this podcast, we speak with Deborah Greenfield, Deputy Director General for Policy at the International Labour Organization, which was formed one hundred years ago out of the Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War 1. And while the work environment has changed dramatically in the past one hundred years, gaining access to basic social programs remains a struggle for far too many workers around the world today. A recent ILO study says more than half the global population lacks healthcare and social security. Greenfield says social protection floors provide important support to workers as they transition into the changing job market.
Read the paper about IMF Engagement on Social Spending,
Somalia is one of the world's most conflict-affected states. Many countries around the world suffer from weak governing institutions, but Somalia was without a functional central government for 20 years. In this podcast, Somalia's Finance Minister, Abdirahman Duale Beileh, says while elections in 2012 have since helped reestablish some of the institutions that bind the country's disparate communities, the road to recovery remains a steep climb. Duale Beileh is also a distinguished artist and songwriter, and we hear his latest song about students struggling to get an education amid violence and social destruction. Abdirahman Duale Beileh was in Washington for the 2019 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings.
You'll find the webcast of Dr. Beileh's presentation about Effective Engagement in Fragile States at IMF.org.
Link to his song Heestii Dalkani Gurmad Buu Raba
In her first IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings as IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva talks with Foreign Policy Magazine's Ravi Agrawal about breaking down barriers to women's career growth. Georgieva is the first person from an emerging market economy, and only the second woman to lead the IMF since its inception in 1944. In this podcast, Georgieva and Agrawal discuss the economic benefits of gender equality and the societal transformation that is required to correct the injustices of the past.
The dramatic drop in commodity prices in 2014 has had lingering effects in sub-Saharan Africa. One such effect is a growing backlog of payments by governments to service providers, known as arrears. But despite the prevalence of arrears in the region, their causes and consequences are not well understood. The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa looks at the economic and social impact of increasing arrears in recent years. In this podcast, IMF economists Samuel Delepierre and David Stenzel say domestic arrears can undermine private sector activity and citizens’ trust in the government.
Competition is considered to be an essential driving force of market economies. It’s said to ensure a more efficient allocation of resources and can boost innovation and productivity. But what happens when there isn’t enough competition? The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa looks at how the lack of competition in the region is hurting the poor and undermining economic growth. In this podcast, IMF economists Reda Cherif and Jesus Gonzalez-Garcia say more competition could lower prices and increase welfare.
Photo: Competition makes the economy work for people. (iStock by Getty images/ Stefan_Ganev)
The Global Financial Stability Report exposes weak spots in the global economy that could amplify the impact of a shock, such as an intensification of trade tensions or rising corporate debt. Fabio Natalucci heads the team of economists who write the GFSR. In this podcast, Natalucci says if current trends continue, debt owed by firms unable to cover interest expenses with earnings, or debt-at-risk, could rise to $19 trillion.
Fabio Natalucci, is Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
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While elections are one of the most important pillars of democracy, in many African countries they are characterized by uncertainties due to the high risk of electoral violence. Studies often look at ethnic tensions and political cleavages as drivers of electoral violence, but how might gender play into this? IMF economist Rasmane Ouedraogo investigates the impact of gender equality on electoral violence in Africa and finds yet another good reason to increase female labor force participation.
Rasmane Ouedraogo and Idrissa Ouedraogo are coauthors of Gender Equality and Electoral Violence in Africa: Unlocking the Peacemaking Potential of Women
As the average annual global temperature is expected to rise by 4 degrees Celsius or more by 2100, economic output in countries with hot climates continues to fall. And given that most low-income countries are located in hot regions, low-income countries are bearing the brunt of the negative economic costs of climate change even though they contribute very little to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause it. In this podcast, IMF economists Sebastian Acevedo and Natalija Novta say the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters is having a negative impact on growth.
Acevedo and Novta are coauthors of Weather Shocks and Output in Low-Income Countries:Adaptation and the Role of Policies
Migration is on the front burner these days. We hear a lot about people moving from one country to the next, fleeing conflict or seeking a better life. But what about the movement of people within a country? Economist Tamim Bayoumi says a well-functioning economy has people moving around to maximize their own welfare and in turn maximize the system; a basic tenant of market economics. Bayoumi is coauthor of Stranded! How Rising Inequality Suppressed US Migration and Hurt Those “Left Behind. In this podcast, Bayoumi says increasing house price and income inequality has reduced long distance migration, the type most linked to jobs.
Tamim Bayoumi is Deputy Director in the IMF’s Strategy, Policy and Review Department.
July was the hottest month on record according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientific research now indicates more clearly than ever that our growing carbon footprint is warming the planet at an alarming rate and threatening our ecosystems. In this podcast, economist Ralph Chami, and whale conservationist Michael Fishbach, explain the carbon capture potential of whales and how supporting international efforts to restore whale populations around the world is one of the simplest ways to fight climate change.
Ralph Chami’s article Whales Fight Climate Change in the online edition of Finance and Development Magazine.